Grant Received for Indigenous Language Revitalization

University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo
Posted: Dec 3, 2001

The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo's Ka Haka ʻUla O Keʻelikolani College of Hawaiian Language and the ʻAha Punana Leo are pleased to announce the recent grant award made by the Ford Foundation to fund the Hale Kipa 'Oiwi Project, an office dedicated to the hosting of visitors from around the globe interested in indigenous language revitalization.

The ʻAha Punana Leo is credited for pioneering the Hawaiian language immersion education method and has worked with the Ka Haka ʻUla O Keʻelikolani College of Hawaiian Language since the College's inception in 1997. Ka Haka ʻUla O Keʻelikölani College of Hawaiian Language is the first public institution of higher learning in the United States to offer a bachelor and masters degree through the Hawaiian language, and currently oversees, in a consortium with ʻAha Punana Leo and the State of Hawaiʻi's Department of Education, three immersion research K-12 schools sites across the State.

The importance of private-public partnerships has recently been highlighted by the Bush administration as an effective means of providing much needed collaboration on matters of education. The Hale Kipa ʻOiwi Project was conceived in response to numerous requests from other indigenous peoples to visit the College and its research laboratory school sites. The project is managed by the Executive Director Ms. Namaka Rawlins of the ʻAha Punana Leo, directed by Dr. William "Pila" Wilson of Ka Haka ʻUla O Keʻelikolani, and staffed by Becky Niniaukapealiʻi Kawaihae. Rawlins and Wilson are familiar to many in the field of indigenous language revitalization, the latter having published many articles on the Hawaiian language revitalization movement here in Hawaiʻi. Kawaihae is a recent graduate of UH Hilo with a degree in political science and is also the Harry S. Truman Foundation Scholar 2000 for the State of Hawaiʻi.

"Being able to share our work with those interested in perpetuating their own indigenous languages is an exciting contribution for me as a Hawaiian," stated Kawaihae. "Through the efforts of the ʻAha Punana Leo and the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo, we now have an indigenous language revitalization program that is recognized and emulated worldwide."